A new energy fund has been set up by some of the world’s richest people.  The $1billion fund is called ‘Breakthrough Energy Ventures.” 

The fund aims to encourage more research into renewable energy, battery technology and storage.

 “To make sure that everyone on the planet can enjoy a good standard of living, including basic electricity, healthy food, comfortable buildings, and convenient transportation, without contributing to climate change.”

However, this is also about having more technology to invest in.

Wood Mackenzie’s director for energy storage, Ravi Manghani, CNBC, the US business news channel:

“In the last few years, the number of technologies ripe for investment has expanded dramatically. It’s no longer just three or four technology verticals.”

Thanks to this expansion in research areas, investors with a focus on a cleaner energy future have a much wider choice of investment targets. However, the Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund is not just throwing money around.

Founded by, amongst others, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Jack Ma, Michael Bloomberg, and Jeff Bezos, the Fund has set four investment criteria.

Including a focus on companies that can make a marked impact on global emissions.  Having the potential to reduce at least 0.5 gigatons of greenhouse gases annually. As well as ones that are also attractive for other investors besides the fund.

Scientific feasibility at scale is also on the list. In large part, because of the longer time it takes to bring a cleaner energy technology from the lab to market.

The last criteria is dubbed “Filling the gaps” meaning the fund is more likely to invest in research and development areas in the wider clean technology space that have stayed out of the spotlight.

According to CNBC, so far the fund has invested in 14 companies working in areas that are familiar to those following the energy space: battery and grid storage, geothermal power generation, and fusion.

The fund is just one instance of a technology industry that’s been at the forefront of the renewable revolution.

Another recent supporter for cleaner sources of energy was the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Alliance aiming to encourage more companies to switch from fossil fuel-sourced electricity to the output of wind, solar, and other renewable sources.

The founders of the alliance say that this would motivate the expansion of generating capacity and eventually reduce the share of fossil fuels in the energy mix.

Whilst the hope is to expand renewable energies worldwide, to combat climate change, many believe oil and gas will be with us for some time yet.  This is not just because the largest banks in the world are investing in them, but because the world’s growing population and equally growing affluence in many parts of the world will drive growth in energy demand that cannot be satisfied with renewables only.

The big Banks are still investing in fossil fuels in huge amounts. The biggest fossil fuel supporters among these were all American banks, including Wells Fargo, JP Morgan, Citi, and Bank of America. These top oil and gas spenders were followed by RBC and Barclays. The biggest lenders in the United States.

According to a recent report from environmental organisations ‘Banking on Climate Change’, the top lenders in the world had invested as much as US$1.9 trillion in the oil and gas industry between 2016 and 2018.